Tennis officials will dish out stricter punishments for on-court misconduct, the ATP warned players in an internal note on Monday as the men's governing body also simultaneously reviews its guidelines to clamp down on repeat offenders.
Australian maverick Nick Kyrgios was fined $60,000 for a series of angry outbursts at the Indian Wells and Miami Open events, with many observers saying he should have been disqualified.
German Alexander Zverev was thrown out of a tournament in Acapulco in February after smashing his racket repeatedly against the umpire's chair following a doubles defeat.
"Effective immediately and as we head into the clay court swing, the ATP officiating team has been directed to take a stricter stance in judging violations of the Code of Conduct," ATP chairman Andrea Gaudenzi said in the note, seen by Reuters.
"Additionally, we are also undertaking a review of the Code, as well as the disciplinary processes, to ensure that it provides appropriate and up-to-date penalties for serious violations and repeat offenders."
Kyrgios was fined $35,000 after his fourth-round loss to Jannik Sinner at the Miami Open during which he criticised the umpire and smashed his racket. The incident followed an outburst at Indian Wells where Kyrgios lost his temper after losing to Rafa Nadal, smashing his racket to the ground, which then bounced up and almost hit a ball boy. He was fined $25,000 for it.
The Australian earned over $350,000 in prize-money from the two tournaments after competing in both singles and doubles.
Olympic singles champion Zverev was handed a suspended eight-week ban for his expletive-filled Acapulco tantrum. The ATP came under fire for what many pundits and fans perceived to be soft punishments from the governing body and in the note Gaudenzi told players "we all have a role to play to uphold the reputation and integrity of our sport".
"The first three months of the season have seen an unusual frequency of high-profile incidents involving unsportsmanlike conduct," Gaudenzi, a former Italian professional player, added.
"These incidents shine a bad light on our sport. This conduct affects everyone, and sends the wrong message to our fans, especially young fans."
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